This dairy-free casserole is creamy, flavorful, and comforting. It’s sure to satisfy the whole family, and it’s made with wholesome ingredients!

Looking for a dairy-free casserole recipe that’s as delicious as a traditional casserole? This recipe is the answer!

Chicken rice casserole in a dish

When you eat gluten- and dairy-free, classic casserole dishes can be hard to recreate! Most of them rely on cheeses, white sauces, or cream soups for moisture and flavor.

Cashew cream makes for a flavorful sauce and creamy texture. Then, chicken breasts, broccoli florets, and crispy topping add to this delicious dairy free combination!

Fortunately, this dairy-free casserole is full of flavor and gets its creaminess from cashew cream. If you don’t like cashews, don’t worry—it doesn’t taste like them.

A combination of mushrooms, shallots, garlic, chicken stock, and a dash of gluten-free soy sauce make this casserole savory and satisfying.

Even picky eaters like this meal. It’s one of those great options for any day of the week. You might also like this dairy-free potato soup, dairy-free mashed potatoes or this dairy-free lasagna!

You also might like these recipes for gluten-free cream of mushroom soup and gluten-free cream of chicken soup!

Why You’ll Love this Dairy-Free Casserole

  • Creamy without the heavy cream or cheese sauce
  • Dairy-free and gluten-free
  • Comfort food at its finest
  • Flavorful sauce

Dairy-Free Casserole Ingredients

Here are some of the key ingredients that make this dairy-free chicken casserole a crowd favorite!

Ingredients for chicken rice casserole on a table
  • Cashews: Cashews are key to the creamy sauce that binds this chicken, rice, and broccoli casserole together. Once the cashews are soaked and blended, they become a creamy sauce that will make you forget the cheese and heavy cream.
  • Chicken stock: Chicken stock adds lots of flavor to this dairy-free casserole without the need for dairy.
  • Tamari: No casserole is complete without a dash of savory, umami flavor. I use tamari to achieve this!
  • Hot sauce: If you don’t like heat, don’t worry! Just a dash of hot sauce helps add complexity and flavor. But this dairy-free casserole isn’t spicy.

How to Make this Dairy-Free Chicken Casserole

Make the cashew cream

Cashews soaking in a measuring cup, and cashews in a blender
  • Preheat the oven to 375F. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the cashews and let sit for 30 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Make the dairy-free casserole

shallots and mushrooms in a pot, and shallots and mushrooms with liquid added
  • In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the shallots, mushrooms, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until softened, about 7-9 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mushroom mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • While whisking constantly, slowly pour in 2 1/2 cups of the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, until thickened.
Cashew cream in a bowl, and chicken, broccoli, and rice in a bowl
  • Meanwhile, drain and rinse the cashews. Place them in a high-speed blender with 1 cup of chicken stock. Blend until completely smooth. Add the cashews to the sauce mixture along with the soy sauce and hot sauce. Remove from the heat.
  • Stir the brown rice, chicken, broccoli (and dairy-free cheese if using) into the sauce. Taste and season with additional salt if needed and plenty of black pepper. Add up to 1/2 cup additional chicken stock if the mixture looks too thick. Pour the dairy-free casserole ingredients into a greased 3-quart casserole dish. Combine the gluten-free breadcrumbs and butter and sprinkle over the top.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes until the dairy-free casserole is bubbly and golden on top. Enjoy!
A portion of chicken rice casserole on a plate

Storage Instructions

Once your dairy-free chicken casserole is cooled, cover with plastic wrap and store in the fridge for up to three days. You can also refrigerate dairy-free casserole leftovers in an airtight container for up to three days.

MAKE-AHEAD: This casserole can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator until dinner. Just wait to add the topping until just before baking. It also reheats wonderfully.

Dairy-Free Casserole FAQs

Do you put raw chicken in a casserole?

This dairy-free casserole recipe calls for cooked, shredded chicken. However, you can put raw chicken in a casserole, as long as the chicken will reach 160 degrees before the dish is finished cooking. This will eliminate any harmful bacteria.

What qualifies a dish as a casserole?

A recipe is usually called a casserole if it is placed in a casserole dish—a deep, large ceramic baking dish—and baked in the oven. Some casseroles have layers (like lasagna), while others have a single, mixed layer of protein, grains, vegetables, and cheese.

What holds a casserole together?

Most casseroles are bound together by a creamy sauce. In this dairy-free chicken casserole, the cashew cream sauce and chicken broth acts as a binder.

Chicken rice casserole in a dish with a portion scooped out

Expert Tips and Tricks

  • This dairy-free casserole can also be made a couple days ahead, and reheats wonderfully.
  • For crunch, I sprinkle gluten-free breadcrumbs or crushed organic corn chips over top of the dairy-free casserole before baking it!
  • Use rotisserie chicken to make this dairy-free casserole an easy weeknight meal for the entire family!

More Gluten-Free Dinner Recipes

I hope you love this recipe as much as we do! If you try this dairy-free casserole, be sure to leave me a comment/rating below. I’d love to hear from you!

Chicken rice casserole in a dish on the table
5 from 3 votes

Dairy-Free Chicken Rice Casserole {Gluten-Free}

Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 50 mins
Total Time 1 hr 10 mins
Servings 8 servings
This dairy-free casserole is creamy, flavorful, and comforting. It's sure to satisfy the whole family, and it's made with wholesome ingredients!
Cashew cream makes for a flavorful sauce and creamy texture. Then, chicken breasts, broccoli florets, and crispy topping add to this delicious dairy free combination!

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup cashews
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or dairy-free butter
  • 4 shallots minced
  • 4 oz cremini mushrooms finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tablespoons gluten-free flour
  • 4 cups chicken stock divided
  • 1-2 teaspoons gluten-free soy sauce or coconut aminos for soy-free
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon hot sauce depending on how spicy you like it
  • 3 cups cooked brown rice preferably cooked in chicken stock/broth
  • 2 cups cooked shredded chicken I prefer rotisserie chicken
  • 3 cups broccoli chopped into small florets
  • 1 cup dairy-free cheese (optional) I like violife cheddar shreds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt/pepper

Topping: (optional)

  • 1 1/2 cups gluten-free bread crumbs (or crushed gluten-free corn chips)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or dairy-free butter

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 375F. Pour 1 cup of boiling water over the cashews and let sit for 30 minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
  • In a large dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the shallots, mushrooms, garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until softened, about 7-9 minutes. Sprinkle the flour over the mushroom mixture and cook for 2-3 minutes.
  • While whisking constantly, slowly pour in 2 1/2 cups of the chicken stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, until thickened.
  • Meanwhile, drain and rinse the cashews. Place them in a high-speed blender with 1 cup of chicken stock. Blend until completely smooth. Add the cashews to the sauce mixture along with the soy sauce and hot sauce. Remove from the heat.
  • Stir the brown rice, chicken, broccoli (and dairy-free cheese if using) into the sauce. Taste and season with additional salt if needed and plenty of black pepper. Add up to 1/2 cup additional chicken stock if the mixture looks too thick. Pour into a greased 3-quart casserole dish. Combine the bread crumbs and butter and sprinkle over the top.
  • Bake for 25-30 minutes until bubbly and golden on top. Enjoy!

Notes

MAKE-AHEAD: This casserole can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator until dinner. Just wait to add the topping until just before baking. It also reheats wonderfully.
RECIPE NOTES
  • This dairy-free casserole can also be made a couple days ahead, and reheats wonderfully.
  • For crunch, I sprinkle crushed organic corn chips over top of the dairy-free casserole before baking it!
  • Use rotisserie chicken to make this dairy-free casserole an easy weeknight meal for the entire family!

Nutrition

Calories: 485kcal | Carbohydrates: 50g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 39mg | Sodium: 419mg | Potassium: 623mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 225IU | Vitamin C: 32.3mg | Calcium: 95mg | Iron: 3.1mg

Categories: , , , , , ,

Hi, I’m Erin!

BS Food Science,

MS Nutrition

I believe you can make amazing, gluten-free food with everyday ingredients that everyone will enjoy. I’m here to share my tried-and-true recipes with you!

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I made this casserole and it was delicious! I think it’s very versatile, because you can really change it up with so many different vegetables. I used spicy ground up pork skins for the top and I did a few crushed red pepper flakes.

  2. This looks amazing! We are GF/DF and miss casseroles so definitely want to try this. I’ve just found your site and am enjoying it. I’m having trouble pinning any recipes sadly though with your pin it button. I’m on an iPad. Hopefully they’ll work on a desktop if I can remember to do it so that I can save them!

  3. Hi. I have PCOS so I try to avoid dairy and gluten and sugar. Also many carbs are avoided, so I dont eat rice typically, not even brown. Your recipe sounds delicious but do you think I could sub rice for rice cauliflower? Thx

    1. I think cauliflower rice should work great! You may need to just decrease the baking time a bit. Enjoy!

  4. 5 stars
    I was really surprised! I don’t normally use go dairy-free. So using cashew cream was new. Best part is it was so creamy. We don’t like mushrooms so we left those out, but it was still delicious and flavorful!

      1. Hello,
        I’m curious if nutritional yeast might be used instead of cashews? My kids are allergic to milk, eggs, peanuts and most tree nuts. We avoid gluten by choice 🙂

  5. Hi Erin, do you have any idea whether coconut milk as a sub for the cashews and broth would ruin the flavors of the casserole? I have that on hand and want to make this for a new Mom who’s celiac.

  6. Hello, If I want to bring this to someone can complete all the steps except the bake then refrigerate the casserole and let them bake it?

  7. I just want to hug you. I’m in my first trimester for my 5th child and we have a strict diet in order to heal my 6 year olds autism. I just connected with everything you wrote and wanted to say thank you, for sharing yourself with all of us, as well as a recipe that doesn’t sound disgusting-like everything else does at the moment.

  8. I made this. Thought it was great it was gluten and dairy free. But the sauce is rather bland. I had to doctor it up with more spices and some curry and parsley and more hot sauce and tamarin sauce. I don’t know if I would make it again, my husband said it was okay, but I wouldn’t make it again.

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